Avatar Four Word Reviews: State of Mind

Ah, Holly Valance. We meet again. We’ve already reviewed the living daylights out of Holly’s first album, Footprints, just a few short months ago. Now, she’s back with her second (2003) album, State of Mind, in a Four Word Reviews first. I cannot even begin to imagine how this came to land on my doorstep so soon after the first.

Unlike Footprints, this album doesn’t have a song you’ll remember. The lead single was State of Mind, which was entirely new to me. As if to underline the record company’s low expectations, the album comes with a bonus DVD featuring four music videos. Three are for songs on the previous album. The album cover is more of the same too – sex sells, which I suppose is another warning sign that the music isn’t going to. There are sultry photos all over it – as if the cover image wasn’t blatant enough – including two where she’s wearing an unbuttoned shirt with a cheeky glimpse of cleavage, and another that’s a straight up underwear shot. Would I have found them sexy in 2003? I don’t know. I find them a bit desperate now.

But enough of the disc and its flimsy insert. On to the songs.

TrackTitleWord 1Word 2Word 3Word 4
2State of MindAlltheproductiontricks
3Everything I Hate“I’meverythingIhate”?!
7Roll OverFunkyandsurprisinglycatchy
9Over ‘n’ OutMoreconsent-free“sexiness”
10Somebody Out ThereGenericlightweightpopsludge
12Double TakeWellproducedlimpending

The first line of the first song is “come on over here and taste me”, so that should leave you in no doubt how the rest of the album plays out. It’s all sexy come-and-get-me, with no subtlety and surprisingly little actual sex appeal. All the songs are very heavily produced synthy-sounding 2000s pop. Just like you expect.

The pinnacle of the generic popness is State of Mind itself, which is so heavily produced – using every knob and button on the recording studio’s desk, presumably – that there’s almost no song there, just a load of confusing production techniques and some words that don’t really make a chorus. You can’t hum it but you might be able to play it using the controls on the Millennium Falcon.

None of the lyrics make much sense. Ricochets has the chorus line “don’t cry, it just ricochets into another day”. Somebody Out There goes “made it through, paid my dues, to somebody out there”. What? “Paid my dues” is such a pop song phrase. Nobody says that, but it rhymes with lots of things, so songwriters love it. It’s the same reason “baby” is used all the time. I assume that “paid my dues” is automatically squirted out of one of the nozzles of whatever grubby pop machine oozed out this whole album.

Speaking of grubby, I put the DVD in and had a look at that as well, and watched the video for State of Mind. In it, Holly Valance is the lead singer of a grungy guitar band in some fake underground club where everything and everyone is spotlessly clean. She wears a Ramones t-shirt. It looks nothing like the song sounds. The crowd appear to be loving it. They probably weren’t hearing the song when they were being filmed.

In summary, my favourite thing about this album is track 7, Roll Over, which took me by surprise because I think it has a real bass guitar and it’s actually quite funky. I listened to it twice. I kind of liked it. I don’t really know who I am any more. My least favourite thing was that I am now a man in his thirties who just said he liked a Holly Valance song and I don’t think that’s something I want to be widely known.

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